46% of consumers have not begun holiday shopping

In search of the best bargain, shoppers are holding out on holiday shopping until Thanksgiving weekend and late in the season. According to the National Retail Federation's Holiday Consumer Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, 45.6 percent of holiday shoppers haven't started shopping yet. That number is only slightly up from 2013, in which 46.2 percent of consumers, the lowest in the survey's seven-year history, had not begun shopping at this point.

"Many consumers are going to wait and see how great the promotions will be later this season before making any commitments," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "Retailers have reacted to this 'wait and see' mentality with fewer October deals and a much quieter entry into November, when we'll start to see retailers ramp up with offers for exclusive merchandise, deep discounts and unique online savings opportunities." 

Although fewer have started shopping, 20.6 percent of consumers have finished 10 percent or less of their shopping, while 12.4 percent have completed about one-quarter of their lists. About 2 percent have completely finished shopping for gifts.

What are consumers buying? Almost 70 percent will buy clothing and accessories, 46.3 percent will buy books, CDs, DVDs, and video games, and 42 percent will buy toys.

Electronic buys are slightly down this year from 33 percent to 30.7 percent. But jewelry will be on the list for 24 percent of shoppers, the highest since 2006.

Shoppers will look for gift ideas on wish lists, 31.2 percent; online searches, 47.7 percent; family and friends, 41.7 percent; advertising circulars, 34.3 percent; email advertisements, 20.1 percent, and Facebook, 10.6 percent.

This year, more shoppers will be paying on credit than ever before, 38 percent, up from 28.5 percent last year. Just 2.1 percent will pay with a check, the lowest in the survey's history.

The National Retail Federation is projecting $616.9 billion in holiday sales for 2014, and retailers are expecting a big increase in online sales—86 percent in year-over-year holiday sales, according to a ChannelAdvisor multichannel e-commerce study. And 20 percent of those online sales will be made on mobile.

For more:
-See this NRF press release

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